There is no doubt that basketball is a way of life up here. I've seen four year olds making three pointers, watched middle schoolers rocket up and down the court, and high schoolers that could really show up some of the top college players. These kids live, eat, and breathe to play ball. I was lucky enough to take a couple of days off of school to take my students to the middle school basketball tournament in Point Hope. This was my first opportunity to see another village and also to take in the true experience of traveling with students in the Arctic.
It's not like you can just take a bus to get where you are going. It all starts with a chartered flight from our village of Atqasuk. The district booked us a flight on a 19 seater plane that took us to Point Hope, with a flight time of about an hour and a half. These kids could hardly sit still, they were so excited.
When we arrived there, it wasn't too much different from our own village. It is much bigger, but you still have the disadvantages of living in the village. We were able to visit a store and all the players just loved it. We've definitely helped to stimulate the economy of Point Hope.
Another benefit of traveling with the school is the comfortable classrooms that become your homes over the next few days. Luckily, we were able to get a classroom with a couch and that makes all the difference.
Both the boy's and girl's team played really hard, but being made up of mostly younger kids, they were defeated in both of the first games. Today they will play their second game each in the losing bracket. Hopefully, we can still board the plane tomorrow to head home.